Olympics 2016: Can Caster Semenya Set 800m World Record?

Updated Monday 22nd August 2016, 08:04 AM

The longest-standing individual world record in athletics could come under threat at Rio 2016 as Caster Semenya attempts to go one better than the silver medal she gained at London and break new ground in women’s middle-distance running. The South African is a strong favourite to win the 800m and the biggest challenge for her to overcome at this Olympics may not be her fellow runners, but the clock - as well as a band of critics.

How the Bookies See it

  • Winner: Caster Semenya (RSA) 1/10, Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) 10/1, Margaret Wambui (KEN) 12/1 - Paddy Power
  • Top 3 Finish: Caster Semenya (RSA) 1/100, Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) 4/7, Margaret Wambui (KEN) 11/10 - Ladbrokes
  • Caster Semenya to break the world record - 2/1 - Sky Bet


Caster Semenya’s performances this year have been nothing short of irresistible. On one remarkable afternoon in April, she won the 400m, 800m and 1500m at the South African trials, and she has since gone on to set a new personal best of 1:55:33 seconds in Monaco. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba was almost a second behind and none of Semenya’s other rivals have shown anything to suggest they can stop her.

Semenya’s form in 2016 has been significantly better than it was last year, following a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport to suspend a rule about the upper limits of testosterone in female athletes. Semenya had previously had to take medication to suppress her levels of testosterone after finding herself at the centre of a gender row following her world championship win in 2009.

Sports.net’s view

Semenya is running better than ever and, at the age of 25, is primed to break Czech athlete Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 33-year-old record. She could have run the 400m or 1500m as well but chose to focus on her strongest event, the 800m, so she has no reason to hold back at all. There was a suggestion after she took silver four years ago that she did not run to her full potential because of the press coverage she might have received, but following the ruling from CAS last year there can be no questions about her eligibility to compete in Rio.

The debate could well erupt again if she wins in Rio, with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) expected to challenge CAS’ ruling, but it would be an incredible story if Semenya can smash such an old record and if she runs from the front then it is well within her scope.

  • Sports.net’s top tip: Caster Semenya to break the 800m world record - 2/1 at Sky Bet

*Please note that odds may fluctuate.

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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2016 08:04:21+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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